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Flag of Utah

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Beehive Flag
Flag of Utah
The Beehive Flag
UseCivil and state flag Small vexillological symbol or pictogram in black and white showing the different uses of the flagSmall vexillological symbol or pictogram in black and white showing the different uses of the flagReverse side is mirror image of obverse side
AdoptedMarch 9, 2024; 3 months ago (2024-03-09)
DesignRectangle divided into three sections by two lines, with blue on top, white in the middle housing a blue hexagon outlined in gold with a gold beehive inside, a white five-pointed star below, and red at the bottom.
Historic State Flag
AdoptedJuly 25, 1913; 110 years ago (1913-07-25)
(Final iteration:
February 16, 2011; 13 years ago (2011-02-16)[1][2][3][4])
DesignA state coat of arms encircled in a golden circle with the number "1896" written in white text, on a field of dark navy blue.[5]

The Beehive Flag is the official flag of the U.S. State of Utah. It is a horizontal tricolor with irregular bands of blue, white, and red. The middle white band contains a blue hexagon outlined in gold. Within the hexagon lies a gold-colored beehive, and below it sits a five-pointed white star.[6]

The previous flag was redesignated the "Historic State Flag" and retains co-official status in the state. It continues to fly year-round at the Utah Capitol, as well as on special occasions statewide. It can be flown at any time by private citizens.[7]


The historic state flag (top) and the new state flag (bottom) flying over the Utah State Capitol prior to the new flag's official adoption

At the top, a blue stripe symbolizes Utah's vast skies and lakes and fundamental principles such as faith, knowledge, and freedom. The white stripe is divided into five peaks, representing the snowy peaks of Utah's mountains, evoking peace and honoring the state's eight Tribal nations. Below, a red-rock canyon stripe signifies Southern Utah's majestic landscapes and the spirit of perseverance, nodding to the red elements on the United States flag. Outlined by a gold rim, the hexagon shape contains a beehive, symbolizing prosperity, unity, and Utah's motto 'Industry'. Below the beehive is a five-pointed star, representing hope and commemorating 1896, the year Utah attained statehood and became the 45th star on the American flag, representing the state's allegiance to the nation.[8]

Color scheme[edit]

The colors designated for the flag are as follows:

Color scheme
Blue White Red Yellow
CMYK 90-60-0-71 0-0-0-0 0-99-100-33 0-28-89-0
HEX #071D49 #FFFFFF #AA0200 #FFB81D
RGB 7-29-73 255-255-255 170-2-0 255-184-29



Mormon pioneers flag[edit]

United States flag (center) pre-2011 Utah state flag (left) and the Mormon pioneers flag[9] (right)

As allegedly designed by council in 1848, this flag was the first flag designed to unify the Saints as they celebrated their first pioneer day. This flag was lost in the 1850s but later recreated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2002 and has flown on Ensign Peak since. Contemporary reports describe similar flags being flown in 1877 at the funeral of Brigham Young and in 1880 at the Golden Jubilee of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.[10] There is currently no historic documentation available to support this flag.

Flag of the State of Deseret[edit]

According to most descriptions, the flag of the State of Deseret was similar to the flag of the State of Utah, but as it was not standardized, multiple other secular and religious alternatives were also used.[11]

Utah Territory[edit]

A display at the Utah State Capitol describing the history of the flag

Blue fabric with the old coat of arms of Utah Territory. There is currently no evidence that the Utah Territory flag was made into an actual flag to fly during the Territory's existence (1850–1896), though copies have since been made.

State of Utah[edit]

1903 design[edit]

The flag's basic design uses the Seal of Utah which was adopted by the state legislature on April 3, 1896.[13] The seal was designed by Charles M. Jackson, a crime reporter for the Salt Lake Herald, and Harry Emmett Edwards, an artist and bartender,[14] and has similarities with the seal of the Utah Territory. The state's first flag was created in March 1903 to be used at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri. Heber M. Wells, the governor of Utah, asked the Utah State Society Daughters of the Revolution (not to be confused with Daughters of the American Revolution) to oversee the creation of a flag.[14] On May 1, 1903, the governor and his delegation marched, under the new flag, in the parade of states.[15] The flag was blue, with the state seal and the year "1896" hand-embroidered in white thread in the flag's center. Initially, this flag was known as the "Governor's Flag" until Senate Joint Resolution 17 was passed by the legislature on March 9, 1911, making it the official state flag.[16]

1913 design[edit]

In 1912, the Sons and Daughters of Utah Pioneers ordered a custom made copy of the newly adopted flag to be presented to the recently commissioned battleship USS Utah. When the flag arrived, the group discovered that the shield on the flag was in full color instead of white, and the manufacturer had added a gold ring around the shield. Rather than have the flag remade, Annie Wells Cannon introduced HJR 1 and the Utah legislature changed the law to allow the manufacturer's changes to become part of the official flag. Prior to being received by the ship on June 25, 1913, the new flag was displayed at the state capitol in January 1913, then in the ZCMI windows on Main Street and at a ball held in honor of the flag.

During the 59th state legislative session in 2011, a Concurrent Resolution (HCR002) was adopted requiring flag makers to fix a mistake found on all then-current Utah state flags.[1][2] The mistake originated in 1922 when a flag maker misplaced the year 1847, by stitching it just above the year 1896, instead of in its correct position on the shield. It is believed every flag made since 1922 used this flag as a model, and the mistake persisted for 89 years.[3] Later that same 2011 session, House Bill #490 passed the legislature, making March 9 an annual Utah State Flag day.[4]

1927 redesign attempt[edit]

In 1927, then-Governor George Dern, during his address to the Utah State Legislature, requested the state adopt a much simpler flag that could be made quickly and cheaply and could fly alongside the American flag. Nothing was done, however, until in 1930 when flag enthusiast Lilliebell Falck, from Ogden, approached him with a few simplified designs. Her favorite was a white beehive with 28 lines to represent Utah's counties. However, with growing opposition to the design by the Sons and Daughters of Utah Pioneers, the design was eventually scrapped later that year. [14]

Salt Lake Tribune design contest (2002)[edit]

In 2002, The Salt Lake Tribune, along with the North American Vexillological Association, solicited designs for a new state flag.[18][19] Over 1,000 designs were collected, with the top 35 selected for judging.[20] However, no flags from this contest were adopted by the state.

2024 design[edit]

Proposed flag of Utah (2019)
Proposed flag of Utah (2019)

In 2018, State Representatives Steve Handy and Keven Stratton proposed 2 different approaches to updating the Utah flag. Representative Handy proposed creating a flag commission to receive input and designs from the public, with the ultimate goal of proposing a new flag to the legislature. Representative Stratton sponsored separate legislation to adopt a specific flag design.[22] The Utah House of Representatives was more amenable to a proposal to involve the public with a commission, but ultimately both efforts failed in 2019.[23][24][25]

Representative Handy proposed another bill in 2020, this time keeping the 2011 design as a "historical flag".[26] However the effort stalled in the House Political Subdivisions Committee on a tie vote.[1]

After a failed 2020 redesign effort, State Senator Daniel McCay started a bill in the Utah Senate. To prepare for the debate, the House and Senate watched a TED Talk by Roman Mars, "Why city flags may be the worst designed thing you've never noticed."[2] In addition to the Ted Talk, the lead designer for the Utah Jazz, Ben Barnes, shared a set of prototype designs for lawmakers.[27]

In 2021, Senator McCay sponsored a bill to create a task force to redesign the Utah state flag.[28] The bill also designated an official flag to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Utah's statehood.[29] The bill passed in the House and the Senate[28] and was signed into law by Governor Spencer Cox.[30]

In 2022, the Utah State Flag Task Force accepted design submissions from the public. 5,703 designs were submitted, 2,500 of which were submitted by students.[31] In September, 20 semifinalist designs were announced and Utahns were asked to submit their feedback.[32] During the month-long comment period, 44,000 survey responses were given.

Flag proposed by the Utah State Flag Task Force
Flag proposed by the Utah State Flag Task Force

On November 10, 2022, the Task Force submitted a final proposal to the Utah State Legislature for adoption as the official state flag.[31] On January 18, 2023, the Utah Senate Business and Labor Committee voted 6–1 to advance the flag to the State Senate, with McCay saying he hoped the new flag design will reach Spencer Cox's desk by March 3.[33]

2023 Utah Flag design
Final chosen design

On January 30, 2023, the State Senate approved the bill 17–10, which advanced to the State House of Representatives for approval.[34] However, the flag was slightly modified; the eight-pointed star was replaced by a five-pointed star after a Indigenous constituent expressed reservations over the former, saying it looked more like an asterisk from a distance. In consultation with tribal leaders, tribal representation shifted to the 5 mountain peaks to represent the five original tribal nations of Utah (Navajo, Shoshone, Goshute, Paiute and Ute).[35]

On March 2, 2023, the Utah House of Representatives approved the bill 40-35, and the State Senate passed the concurrence vote 19-9-1, sending the bill to the governor's desk for signing.[36]

The bill was signed by Governor Cox on March 21, 2023, along with an executive order formalizing the change. The bill—and the new flag—went into effect on March 9, 2024, thus providing a one-year phase-in period to gradually transition to the new flag. The bill also designates the prior design as the official historic flag which may continue to be used by all.[37][38] The executive order mandates that the historic state flag be flown above the state capitol every day of the year and once the bill goes into effect, the two flags should be flown from different flagpoles on capitol grounds. The order also petitions the legislature to amend the bill to allow the new flag to be flown below the historic state flag when they are flown together.[7]

A public opinion poll conducted by the Hinckley Institute of Politics in March 2023 found that 48% of respondents supported the new flag, 35% opposed it, and 17% didn't know.[39]

On May 17, 2023, the Utah State Capitol raised the new flag for the first time.[40]

Attempts to remove the 2024 flag[edit]

Opponents of the new flag announced a campaign to initiate a 2023 ballot referendum on the adoption on the flag, hoping to retain the old flag, in spite of language in the bill that retains the historic state flag.[41] The signature campaign failed, ultimately receiving only 21,030 verified signatures; official verification was halted after fewer than 50,000 signatures of the 134,298 required were submitted to county clerks.[42]

Flag opponents launched a second signature campaign to put the issue on the 2024 ballot as an initiative.[43] That campaign also failed, gathering 99,125 signatures. (The lieutenant governor's office had only validated 81,992 before the deadline, the remaining 17,133 signatures left unvalidated would not have been enough to cross the threshold of 134,298 signatures to qualify for the ballot.) On February 8, 2024, a group linked to the campaign filed a federal lawsuit against the lieutenant governor, alleging that ten separate provisions of the citizen initiative process that the legislature created were unconstitutional.[44] The group sought injunctive relief for the alleged violations, but were denied on all counts.[45] Subsequently, the group withdrew the lawsuit two days later.[46]

During Utah's 2024 legislative session, Representative Phil Lyman put forward House Bill 436[47] in the Utah House of Representatives. The bill would have repealed the new flag, but it failed to advance out of committee.[48]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Dan Bammes (February 17, 2011). "Legislature: Fixing the Flag". KUER-FM. Archived from the original on July 24, 2011. Retrieved February 17, 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Utah State Flag Concurrent Resolution, 2011 General Session, State of Utah". Retrieved February 17, 2011.
  3. ^ a b Keith McCord (February 12, 2011). "Resolution aims to correct state flag goof". KSL-TV. Retrieved February 16, 2011.
  4. ^ a b Dennis Romboy (March 9, 2011). "Utahns celebrate first State Flag Day". KSL-TV. Retrieved March 10, 2011.
  5. ^ "Utah Code 63G-1-503 - Historic state flag". State of Utah. Retrieved April 20, 2024.
  6. ^ "Utah Code Section 63G-1-501". le.utah.gov. Retrieved March 9, 2024.
  7. ^ a b Williams, Carter (March 21, 2023). "Cox signs bill to create new flag, issues order on how 'historical' flag will be flown". KSL-TV. Retrieved March 22, 2023.
  8. ^ "Symbolism | Flag". flag.utah.gov. Retrieved March 9, 2024.
  9. ^ "John Wardle's flag". Flags of the World. Retrieved August 22, 2013.
  10. ^ Quinn, D. Michael (1974). "The Flag of the Kingdom of God". BYU Studies Quarterly. 14 (1): Article 11. Retrieved April 29, 2024.
  11. ^ Walker, Ronald W. "A Banner is Unfurled" Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought Volume 26 Number 4, Winter 1993, pages 71–91.
  12. ^ "FlagTerritorial.jpg". pioneer.utah.gov. Archived from the original on June 23, 2012. Retrieved August 2, 2020.
  13. ^ State of Utah (2010). "Utah State Flag and Seal". Pioneer: Utah's Online Library. Archived from the original on November 10, 2012. Retrieved February 16, 2011.
  14. ^ a b c d Fox, Ron; De Groote, Michael (April 20, 2023). "Raising a flag: The mistakes and struggles that made Utah's state flags". Deseret News. Retrieved March 19, 2024.
  15. ^ Lee Davidson (December 25, 2010). "Time to fix 88-year-old mistake in Utah flag?". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved February 16, 2011.
  16. ^ "The history of the Flag of Utah". flag-post.com blog. January 31, 2011. Retrieved February 16, 2011.
  17. ^ "Flag | More Than A Flag". flag.utah.gov.
  18. ^ "Here's your chance to pick Salt Lake City's new flag". Building Salt Lake. July 10, 2020. Retrieved March 31, 2022.
  19. ^ "NAVA 36 Flag Design" (PDF). vexman.net. June 2002. Retrieved September 24, 2023.
  20. ^ Ted Kaye. "A New Flag For Utah? The Utah Flag Design Contest". NAVA News (Issue #174). April–June 2002.
  21. ^ "Utah Code 63G-1-503 - Historic state flag". State of Utah. Retrieved April 20, 2024.
  22. ^ Wood, Benjamin (February 9, 2019). "A former candidate for Utah governor is pushing a redesign of the state flag, and he's got a sponsor on Capitol Hill". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  23. ^ Wood, Benjamin (February 13, 2019). "Facing dueling state flag proposals, a Utah House committee says deliberation is better than a quick redesign". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  24. ^ Wood, Benjamin (February 28, 2019). "'Let's submit designs': New version of state flag bill would launch a review of replacement ideas". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  25. ^ Wood, Benjamin (March 8, 2019). "Utah House says 'yes' to a review of the state flag". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  26. ^ Wood, Benjamin (February 5, 2020). "Utah lawmaker taking another stab at updating the state flag". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  27. ^ Gehrke, Robert (February 19, 2020). "Robert Gehrke: Utah's state flag is fine, but maybe an update wouldn't hurt". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  28. ^ a b Petersen, Hannah (March 4, 2021). "Don't like the look of the state flag? Lawmakers OK task force to look at redesign". Deseret News. Archived from the original on March 10, 2021. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  29. ^ Rodgers, Bethany (March 2, 2021). "Proposed Utah flag design could be in trouble over its use by DezNat". The Salt Lake Tribune. Archived from the original on March 3, 2021. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  30. ^ McKellar, Katie (March 17, 2021). "Governor signs Dixie State name change bill, slew of police reform measures". Deseret News. Archived from the original on March 19, 2021. Retrieved May 25, 2021.
  31. ^ a b Jayswal, Palak (November 10, 2022). "New design for Utah's flag: A beehive, mountains and a symbolic star". The Salt Lake Tribune. Archived from the original on November 14, 2022. Retrieved November 15, 2022.
  32. ^ Williams, Carter (September 8, 2022). "Does one of these flags say 'Utah' to you? Lawmaker teases flag finalist 'sneak peek'". Deseret News. Archived from the original on September 25, 2022. Retrieved November 15, 2022.
  33. ^ Williams, Carter (January 18, 2023). "Proposed Utah flag redesign clears 1st legislative hurdle in divided room". KSL. Retrieved January 22, 2023.
  34. ^ Winslow, Ben (January 30, 2023). "New Utah state flag moves closer to reality after passing in Senate". FOX 13. Retrieved January 30, 2023.
  35. ^ Coombs, Carlene (January 30, 2023). "Newly designed state flag will better represent Utah's historic tribal nations, senator says". The Salt Lake Tribune.
  36. ^ Ellis, Josh (March 2, 2023). "Utah Legislature approves new state flag". KSL.
  37. ^ "SB0031". le.utah.gov. Retrieved March 4, 2023.
  38. ^ Schott, Bryan (March 21, 2023). "Utah has a new state flag after Gov. Cox signs banner bill — for now". The Salt Lake Tribune.
  39. ^ McKinlay, Hannah (April 6, 2023). "Poll: More Utahns support the new state flag than oppose it". Deseret News. Retrieved April 7, 2023.
  40. ^ Williams, Carter (May 17, 2023). "Utah's new flag flies above Utah Capitol for the 1st time". KSL. Retrieved May 17, 2023.
  41. ^ Hugo, Rikard-Bell (April 13, 2023). "Ahead of a final deadline on Thursday, state flag referendum falls short". KSL Newsradio. Retrieved April 13, 2023.
  42. ^ https://vote.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/42/2023/04/S.B.-31-State-Flag-Amendments-Referendum.pdf. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  43. ^ Tavss, Jeff (May 2, 2023). "Opposition group files initiative in new attempt to halt new Utah state flag". FOX 13. Retrieved May 3, 2023.
  44. ^ Winslow, Ben (February 16, 2024). "Ballot initiative to put the new Utah state flag up to a vote fails to qualify". Fox 13. Retrieved February 29, 2024.
  45. ^ Williams, Carter; March 11, KSL com | Posted-; P.m, 2024 at 6:05. "Judge denies injunction in state flag initiative case, says lawsuit 'unlikely to prevail'". www.ksl.com. Retrieved March 13, 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  46. ^ Williams, Carter; March 13, KSL com | Posted-; P.m, 2024 at 9:04. "Group drops Utah flag initiative lawsuit after judge's injunction ruling". www.ksl.com. Retrieved March 14, 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  47. ^ "HB0436". le.utah.gov. Utah State Legislature. Retrieved March 1, 2024.
  48. ^ Woodruff, Daniel (February 8, 2024). "Bill getting rid of new Utah state flag fails to advance". KSL TV. Retrieved February 29, 2024.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]